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Review: Kon-Tiki


In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal and group of grizzled men set out to traverse the Pacific Ocean on a simple wooden raft, following the path of legendary Tiki. Based on the compelling true story.

Who’s in it?
Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, and other attractive Scandanavian men of whom we’ve really never heard, but who are awesome.

Review: Thor Heyerdal is gonna need a bigger boat. A bigger one, and a sturdier one. And perhaps a more comfortable one. Determined to prove his thesis that South Americans were the first settlers of Polynesia by crossing the world’s greatest Ocean, Heyerdal and a group of less than merry men seek to duplicate the original voyage – hoping to have the same successful ending.

He cannot get support for his thesis as he is told he doesn’t have enough proof. When he says he will attempt the same route, he is laughed and mocked, and his wife wishes he wasn’t so daring. Among those who join Thor for his quest are a clever photographer and a simple refrigerator salesman who simply seeks an escape from his everyday life. A crab and a parrot join as well – and you better believe the men engage them in conversation. They’re planning a 100-day trip, after all.

What unfolds is a beautiful, frightening, and humanizing look at the spirit of exploration. Tall, blond-haired, and with the most charming of smiles, there is a crazed yet passionate look in the eyes of Heyerdal. His spirit is infectious, even if he attempts to allay fears fall short.

His crew does not sure the same sense of security that Thor does, as he believes the God Tiki will protect them. For that which they encounter is humbling, and powerful. An early gale does damage to the balsa raft, while the dangers of the deep, including and most notably some very realistic looking Great White Sharks, are awe-inspiring and unpredictable. There is also the heat, the rocky seas, and heightened emotions and stress.

Nominated for Best Foreign Feature at this past Oscar’s, Kon Tiki was shot simultaneously in English and Norwegian. The reason was to attract a wider audience, and the actors seem very capable of handling the task. The English version opening commercially this weekend, however, is in fact different than the original. The directors have admitted that shooting in two different languages has inherently created two films with subtly different tones and aesthetics.

The English version, at least, is gorgeous, with vast expanses of blue open meeting blue sky, as the only sign of human life is the group of daring men. There is humour too, and each of the men on the crew slowly develops into their own characters, eliciting sympathy and compassion, instead of being just Sailor #1, Sailor #2, and so on. You are out there with them, too, and it’s no easy journey.

Should You See It?
Yes, if for no other reason than to add another film to your Oscar list. If you don’t know the ending, though, try to avoid finding out ahead of time.

Memorable Quote:
“I know it’s going to be dangerous, but you have no idea how risky the refrigerator business is.”

 [star v=45]

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